Happy Valentiny Day ❤️

It’s the 3rd Annual Valentiny Writing Contest from Susanna Leonard Hill, picture book writer extraordinaire. This year’s theme is ‘with a hopeful heart’. Here’s my attempt at the challenge and entry for the contest.

The Note
Stephanie Ward
Word Count: 212

Olivia carefully wrote with her sparkly red pen and folded the valentine just so. She glanced at Miss Crabapple and then tossed it to Aidan.

Just then, Emma stretched out a yawn and the note caught in her long, curly hair.

Emma pulled the card from her curls and read it. Then she giggled and passed it to Mateo.

Mateo loves a good secret. He opened the note and scanned the class. Then he passed it to Nora.

When Nora read the valentine, she blushed from head to toe and dropped it on the floor.

Levi snapped it up, folded it into a paper airplane and sent it flying.

Connor fell out of his chair trying to catch it. Miss Crabapple heard that and sent Connor to a time out in the corner.

Chelsea snatched the paper off Connor’s desk. She whispered to Maggie, but Maggie didn’t know who wrote it. So, Chelsea tossed it over her head.

It landed in front of Hannah’s nose. She looked up, read it, and smiled at Olivia. Then she gave the note to Aidan.

Aidan opened the note and read: “Will you be my valentine?” He smiled and wrote something. Then he handed it back to Olivia.

Olivia slowly opened the valentine and read: “Always.”

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

Join in the fun by posting a story on your own blog that’s 214 words or less by the 14th of February and then sharing the link on the contest page. There are fabulous prizes available including critiques by publishers and authors as well as writerly resources. Most importantly, it’s fun.

Hope you all have a lovely Valentiny Day!

World Read Aloud Day – Feb. 1, 2018


World Read Aloud Day is just around the corner and as an aspiring children’s author, I love the idea of celebrating the joy (as well as many other benefits) that comes from reading together with a child. It’s also such an easy event to participate it — all you need is a book, your voice and some time. But if you want to plan something special, here are some helpful links to create a memorable World Read Aloud Day event.

First, why not register at LitWorld.org, the founders of #WorldReadAloudDay and show your support?

If you are a teacher or librarian, check out how Microsoft is supporting the day with #WRADSkype by connecting classrooms around the globe to share stories live.

This year, World Read Aloud Day coincides with Harry Potter Book Night. Download the Harry Potter Book Night Planner for everything from games and activities, event space decoration ideas and even pre-made tweets to announce your event.


Authors can participate in Skype sessions with classrooms by signing up to Kate Messner’s list and being listed as available for short readings on World Read Aloud Day.

It’s not only about the kids. Join Care UK to find a senior home in your area and read or discuss favorite books together.

There are local events happening with authors and bookstores around the world. Check for local listings and feel free to add to the post with reading events in your area. Here are just a few to join or to find some ideas for your own celebration…

There is so much going on! I’ll be reading Lost and Found by Sharon Powers, the second book in the My Sea Buddies adventure series, with my six year old. Let me (and the world) know what you’ll be reading for World Read Aloud Day in the comments.

Happy World Read Aloud Day!



Blog Tour + Giveaway: Purple Turtle Graded Readers, Level 3

Title: Purple Turtle Graded Readers Level 3 (12 Titles) | Category: Children’s Fiction | Genre: Educational | Publisher: Aadarsh Pvt. Ltd. | Release date: April 1, 2017

Description: A1 Edutainment is all set to take you on an adventurous journey to the amazing world of Purple Turtle and his friends. Purple Turtle Graded Readers by A1 Edutainment is a new reading program especially for emerging readers. The third level includes a set of 12 books with engaging stories and fun-filled activities. It is based on the Lexile and ATOS reading level system and has a word count of 250-350. This level is for learners who have started reading with confidence.

My thoughts: Purple Turtle Graded Readers are a fun tool to supplement school reading activities. The third level features “longer stories with complex sentences and enriched vocabulary”. The Level 3 set written by Imogen Kingsley includes longer stories with titles such as So Many Jobs!, The Big Birthday Calendar, Many Kinds of Homes, Melody’s Magic Show and The Rhyme Game. With a wide variety of topics and options for children to choose, there is sure to be multiple titles that appeal to each child. The bright an colorful illustrations compliment the simple text on each page and include clues to help young readers figure out what is happening in the story. My five-year-old who is reading at an above average Kindergarten level pushed through the Level 3 readers and found many familiar sight words throughout the slightly challenging books. I also appreciated the little extras such as an option on the title page of each book to tick your achievement level which includes Read Along, Read Aloud and Read Alone and games such as mazes and matching activities. To read more reviews, please visit Purple Turtle’s page on iRead Book Tours.
Buy the Boxed Set at Amazon.
Watch one of the book trailers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDbkID-uK3s
Meet the Publisher: Purple Turtle is India’s 1st International brand with its educational content in several languages sold in more than 30 countries including Russia, China, US and UK. The character of Purple Turtle has delighted children across the globe through beautifully created Purple Turtle books, rhymes and videos available on YouTube.
Purple Turtle was created with the idea to spread education through a wide range of innovative books for children. To give them the experience of convenient online learning, Purple Turtle also brings both learning and entertainment on a common platform to give a wholesome learning experience to young minds.


Connect with the publisher: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Giveaway: Enter to win one of 10 trolleys that contain 5 Purple Turtle books (ends Dec 2). Good luck!

Book Blast + Giveaway: The Wondrous World of Violet Barnaby

The Wondrous World of Violet Barnaby

Violet Barnaby searches for the joy in life after losing her mother in this sweet and funny follow-up to The Charming Life of Izzy Malone.

Violet Barnaby is a having a blue Christmas. She’s still grieving the loss of her mother, and to make things worse, her dad has just married Melanie Harmer, a.k.a. the meanest teacher at Dandelion Hollow Middle School. But on the day Violet and her dad are packing up and moving into the new house they’ll share with Melanie and Melanie’s two children, Violet finds a letter her mother wrote to her before she died, asking Violet to enjoy Christmas, along with a Christmas Wish List—things her mom wants her to do during the holiday season. On the list are exactly the kinds of things Violet doesn’t want to do this year, like Be Someone’s Secret Santa; Give Someone the Gift of Your Time: Volunteer; and Bake Christmas Cookies.

Violet shows the letter to her friend Izzy’s Aunt Mildred, who calls a meeting of the Charm Girls, a club Izzy and Violet belong to along with their friends, Daisy and Sophia. Aunt Mildred decides she will give them each a charm to put on their bracelet if they do all of the tasks on the Christmas Wish List, which Violet is not too happy about. She’d rather forget about the list completely, but feels compelled to honor her mother’s wishes.

And when Izzy’s crush confides a big secret to Violet, Violet feels like she is stuck between her best friend and the boy who she just might have a crush on, too…

Praise for The Wondrous World of Violet Barnaby

“[an] emotionally perceptive novel of grief and recovery.” – Kirkus

You’ll fall in love with Violet and love every minute of living in her wondrous world! – Stephanie Faris

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * IndieBound

Author Jenny Lundquist

Jenny Lundquist was born and raised in Huntington Beach, California, where she spent her time unsuccessfully learning how to surf. When she was younger, she wanted to be either a rock star or a published author. After she taped herself singing and listened to it on playback she decided she’d better opt for the writing route. Jenny is the author of multiple YA and Middle Grade titles including Seeing Cinderella, The Charming Life of Izzy Malone, The Wondrous World of Violet Barnaby and the forthcoming The Carnival of Wishes and Dreams (2019).

Website * Facebook * Twitter

amazon or paypal$100 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 10/10/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

CLICK HERE to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.

Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop


Ready for summer? Beach towel? Check. Sunscreen? Check. Books? What, no books? You’ve come to the right place. Visit dozens of bloggers who are giving away books and bookish items for your summer reading pleasure during the Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop hosted by BookHounds.

I’ve put together a collection of summer reads for the whole family. All four paperbacks will be packed up in a tote bag with a few extras thrown in so you’re all ready for a lazy day of reading at the beach or pool or lake, you get the idea.

Dad – The Accident

Gripping, action-packed thriller at its best. The Accident is the second book from acclaimed author, Chris Pavone.

Mom – Seaspan (Signed copy!)

Twenty-five years ago Jack and Kelly met. He can’t forget. She can’t remember. That’s because it hasn’t happened to her…yet. Seaspan is a fantasy romance novella, perfect for a beach bag.

Middle Grader – Goodly and Grave In A Bad Case of Kidnap 

There’s magic and mayhem and loads of twists when Lucy lands herself a job as the new boot girl for Lord Grave. A page-turning mystery for the middle grader in your life.

Preschooler – Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin (Signed copy!)

Travel to the Galapagos Islands with Wally the Warm-Weather Penguin in this delightful rhyming picture book and experience the wonders of this very special place.

ENTER HERE via Rafflecopter and good luck!

Then check out all of the other participating blogs. Happy hopping…

World Book Review: Gusto & Gecko Travel to New Orleans


Gusto and Gecko are two dinosaurs with a time machine. And they are ready to travel the world! In the second book of The Curious Travels of Gusto & Gecko Series, the best friends find themselves marching in a Mardi Gras parade, eating wonderful local foods and cheering at a good old American football game. Readers experience the lively jazz music in the French Quarter and smell of freshly cooked beignets at Cafe du Monde right along with these two visitors. In what turns out to be anything but an ordinary Sunday afternoon, the two friends find themselves in the marshlands and must escape the jaws of a hungry alligator before returning home with, of course, a few souvenirs.

With adventure, humour, and a generous dose of local flavour, talented author Longy Han brings the wonders of New Orleans and Creole culture to young readers.  Visiting historic landmarks, modern attractions, and everything in between, Gusto and Gecko are perfect tour guides for preschool-aged children.

The colourful illustrations by Elinor Hägg create a friendly, playful tone. And I love the thoughtful extras are included at the end of the book such as instructions for a simple origami alligator craft and a glossary of New Orleans food.

Gusto & Gecko Travel to New Orleans is an entertaining picture book that would be a wonderful addition to a child’s bookshelf.

Gusto & Gecko Travel to New Orleans
Written by Longy Han
Illustrated by Elinor Hägg
ISBN: 978-0-9943413-1-0
Available on Amazon